Why Starnet is Good for Your Flooring Project
Back in the 1990s, the commercial flooring industry was undergoing a significant shift in how it did business. Flooring companies that have been around since then, like Intertech Flooring, experienced an industry-wide movement to consolidate the major flooring manufacturers with distribution and installation. In turn, many of the larger manufacturers of carpet and carpet fibers began purchasing flooring contractors.
It could have been the demise of the independent commercial flooring contractor and the specialized service their clients had come to rely on. But instead, Intertech Flooring, along with several other independent commercial flooring dealers, decided to go in a different direction that we believed would enable us to best serve clients with unbiased product recommendations and nationally competitive pricing.
The result was Starnet Flooring Cooperative, founded in 1992 when Intertech Flooring joined several independent commercial flooring dealers who recognized they could strengthen resources by combining their individual capabilities into a nationwide network.
Today Starnet is the world’s largest network of full-service independent, locally owned flooring contractors, committed to the highest standards of excellence in the industry. Membership comprises more than 171 locally owned independent full-service commercial flooring contractors.
Together they service more than 360 locations throughout North America. With $3.5 billion in annual sales, Starnet is the most influential force in the commercial flooring business.
“If there’s ever been a group of dealers who can call themselves flooring project experts, this group of dealers has earned that right,” says Floor Focus Publisher Kemp Harr. “The most important criterion for Starnet membership is integrity. The Starnet board of directors won’t even consider a company if it doesn’t have a reputation for outstanding service, financial stability, exceptional integrity, and training and education best practices.”
National Buying Power
As some of the earliest members of Starnet, we at Intertech are often asked about how it benefits our flooring customers. National buying power tops the list. Says Intertech’s Vice President of Austin Operations Terry Bessire, “As the industry consolidated, to remain competitive, Starnet began to work with the major flooring manufacturers as a group representing a much larger purchasing power than the individual flooring contractors could do alone.” Bottom line: Intertech’s membership in Starnet levels the playing field for independent flooring businesses when it comes to pricing power. That, combined with the personal service that only a local business can offer, is hard to beat.
National Account Services
Many Texas-based companies have multiple facilities across North America. Intertech’s partnership in Starnet enables us to manage clients’ flooring needs, regardless of where they may be located. “The Starnet network offers us the opportunity to work with fellow members in other locations if there is a client with multiple locations across the country,” says Bessire. “This allows the end-user to depend on standardized installation quality without having to search for a competent flooring contractor in each location and gives more control by utilizing a central project management team.”
For example, says Intertech Vice President of San Antonio Operations Mark Jones, “We are currently working with another Starnet dealer based in Minnesota to install carpet for United Health Group all across Texas. We have partnered with other Starnet dealers who might have a national contract with an end-user here in Texas.”
Unparalleled Product Selection
In addition to competitive pricing and national reach, Intertech’s Starnet connection brings one-stop shopping convenience to customers, saving them significant time over purchasing floor covering on a facility-by-facility basis.
“Through Intertech’s involvement in Starnet, our customers gain access to a substantially wider range of products than other dealers aligned with a particular mill,” says CEO Bill Imhoff. “When we recommend a product, our customers can know with confidence that it is because we believe it is truly the best product for their project needs and budget, not because it is the one aligned with a particular manufacturer.”
Commitment to the Environment
Like other Starnet members, Intertech Flooring is committed to protecting the environment for future generations. Through the Starnet Carpet Reclamation Program, Intertech and other members collectively have diverted more than 50 million pounds of carpet saving 144 million gallons of water and enough energy to power 6,000 homes annually.
Unmatched Professional Resources
Starnet members – and in turn, their customers – benefit from exclusive access to world-class training for sales teams, flooring installers and project managers. As strong advocates for lifelong learning, Intertech encourages employees to take full advantage of these opportunities. “For example, our Product Consultant Tess Shelton has attended several of Starnet’s specifier seminars and always returns with a new perspective on working with architects and designers,” says Jones.
In addition to seminars, the regular Starnet meetings encourage interaction between members to share best practices. Intertech Project Manager Grant Imhoff recently attended his first Starnet meeting. “I have to say I had no idea how large of an organization it was. One of the things I really enjoyed was getting to talk to other flooring contractors like us in different markets and discussing some of the best practices and/or challenges that they deal with in their market,” he says. “Another benefit was getting to meet some of the top-level executives from the manufacturers we do a lot of business with, such as Ardex, Armstrong, J&J and Tarkett, just to name a few. While this may not have an immediate impact on our business, it is an important step in making sure we maintain strong relationships with these manufacturers.”
And, of course, Starnet’s annual Design Awards are a great way to showcase Intertech’s exceptional work. “Over the years, Intertech has brought home many Design Awards, and they are a great way to offer national exposure to our clients and the design firms that we are honored to work with,” says Bill Imhoff.
Talk to the Flooring Experts
If you are looking for a commercial flooring contractor with extensive local knowledge, old-fashioned personal service AND the power of national connections, contact us. Find out what it means to experience the Intertech advantage.
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